Sensory Overload: Theo’s Loose Hinges impress with tight Brother’s Drake performance

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From the March 27, 2014 edition

Despite the band’s name, soul/blues trio Theo’s Loose Hinges sounded impressively tight during a recent Thursday performance at Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar.

Anchored by singer/guitarist Theo Perry, who also moonlights in The Floorwalkers, drummer Kenny Caterer, and with substitute bassist Joe Patterson (The Wet Darlings) standing in for Nate Smith, the crew eased into a set that mixed original tunes with a handful of generally well-chosen covers.

The opening song established the tone for the evening, Perry singing, “[There are] a million ways to say I love you” atop a swooning soul groove. And he didn’t hesitate to explore all of them, turning out heart-tugging numbers where he pledged his unending devotion (“Don’t Walk Away”), envisioned a married life raising a family in the countryside (a cover of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”) and sang of drying a lover’s tears at the close of a sappy movie (“Shots of Honey”).

Perry, a singer in possession of a buttery croon, was so genteel and adept at playing the lady’s man that those rare moments the music took a darker turn almost felt out of character. When he ripped into “You’re Never too Old, You’re Never too Young to Sing the Blues,” for one, the musician still couldn’t help but dance, ripping off a boogying blues solo. Similarly, a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” which the trio fashioned into an up-tempo shuffle rather than a prison-house lament, felt just a touch too polite, and I half expected Perry to follow “I shot a man in Reno” with “it was an accident … oh god someone help me get this man to a hospital!”

These two halves uncovered a more symbiotic relationship on “Holding the Line,” a sighing ballad where Perry crooned of the “heavy load on his shoulders” while his guitar provided the counterbalance, an airy solo drifting weightlessly through the space.

The 45-minute set — the first of two the Loose Hinges played on this night — had an undeniable momentum, gradually building from mellow soul ballads to shuffling blues numbers to whisky-fueled closer “Next to You,” a howling little ditty where Perry’s mood (“I’m feeling frisky,” he yelped) and his snarling six-string work came together in perfect harmony.